Dominican Republic

Much more than beach resorts, this is one of the Caribbean’s most geographically diverse countries, from stunning mountain scenery to desert scrublands, not to mention an evocative colonial architecture and warm welcoming people.

Coastal Culture

The DR’s hundreds of miles of coastline – some of it picturesque white-sand beaches shaded by rows of palm trees, other parts lined dramatically with rocky cliffs or backed by wind-swept dunes or serene mangrove lagoons – define the country. Whether it’s fishing villages where the shoreline is used for mooring boats, indulgent tourist playgrounds with aquamarine waters, small towns where the social glue is all-night merengue blasting from modest corner stores, or cities like Santo Domingo, the Caribbean’s largest, the sea is the common denominator, symbolizing both limits and escapes. Even with their glory days behind them, former engines of industry like crumbling San Pedro de Macoris or Puerto Plata still see waves crash over their Malecóns. Some of the bays and coves where pirates once roamed are the temporary home of thousands of migrating humpback whales, and part of an extensive network of parks and preserves safeguarding the country’s natural patrimony.

Peaks & Valleys

Beyond the capital, much of the DR is distinctly rural: driving in the vast fertile interior, you’ll see cows and horses grazing alongside the roads, tractors ploughing large fields, and trucks and burros loaded down with produce. Further inland you’ll encounter vistas reminiscent of the European Alps, rivers carving their way through lush jungle and stunning waterfalls, small towns where life revolves around the Parque Central, and villages ruled by the sun’s rhythms. Four of the five highest peaks in the Caribbean rise above the fertile lowlands surrounding Santiago and remote deserts extend through the southwest, giving the DR a physical and cultural complexity not found on other islands.

Past Present

The country’s roller-coaster past, a history of migrations of various peoples, is writ large in the diversity of ethnicities, not to mention the physical design of its towns and cities. Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial exudes romance with white-washed and pastel-colored buildings, flowers blooming through wrought-iron filigree, beautifully restored monasteries and cobblestone streets where conquistadors once roamed. The crumbling gingerbread homes of Puerto Plata and Santiago remain from more prosperous eras, and scars from decades of misrule are marked by monuments where today people gather to celebrate. New communities have arisen only a few kilometers from the ruins where Christopher Columbus strode and where the indigenous Taíno people left physical traces of their presence carved onto rock walls.

(Excerpt from Lonely Planet)

Introducing Puerto Plata

Tucked away on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, the ‘Silver Port’ region packs in all those Caribbean dreams. Think beach nightlife in lively towns, spectacular hiking and mountain biking, and - of course - miles and miles of that famous Caribbean sand. Best of all, Puerto Plata is one of the few places where you can escape the tourist hordes while still enjoying world-class tourism infrastructure!

It almost goes without saying, but this coastal region is blessed with some of the longest stretches of unspoiled beaches in the Caribbean. The best known of these is probably Playa Grande, just 15km east of the town of Río San Juan. This is undoubtedly one of the country’s most beautiful beaches - long, broad and tawny, with the aquamarine sea on one side and a thick fringe of palm trees on the other. Stark white cliffs jut out in the distance. It’s the perfect setting for swimming, surfing or lazing.

If you don’t get out to Playa Grande, you can still catch some world-class sunshine at Playa Dorada, just outside the city of Puerto Plata. Or be adventurous and discover your own sand-covered coastal paradise - the area begs for exploration.

Puerto Plata’s breezes and gentle swells have made it world renowned for kitesurfing, wakeboarding and windsurfing. For an extra adrenaline kick, try exploring attractions such as the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua. Often described as ‘the coolest thing in the DR’, the waterfalls are a splashy playground where you can leap from rock walls into crystalline pools.

Puerto Plata’s bar and entertainment scene is enough to keep you buzzing for weeks. All the resorts have their own bars and discos, which are open to guests or those who have purchased day passes. The beachside nightlife kicks on well into the wee hours. If you’re willing to explore, you’ll discover such gems as The Nu Vudu (formely Sosúa’s Ruby Lounge) and Lax, Cabarete’s nightlife hub.

Puerto Plata’s towns provide a rich, diverse blend of cultures to explore. The regional capital (also called ‘Puerto Plata’) heats up in June’s third week with the weeklong cultural festival, which features merengue, blues, jazz and folk concerts at the historic Fuerte de San Felipe (San Felipe Fort). Troupes from Santo Domingo also perform traditional dances to African spirituals and sexy salsa tunes. While in town, don’t miss the impressive Museo de Ambar (Amber Museum), a temple to the DR’s prized resin that inspired the movie Jurassic Park. Sophisticated Cabarete, a centre for adventure tourism, also boasts a slew of cultural events. If you’re around in November, you’ll get to experience the Dominican Jazz Festival, which attracts top international talent. February sees a great festival for kids: the International Sand Castle Competition.

One of Puerto Plata’s little-known secrets is that, if you close your eyes, you can actually go back in time. If you ever wished that you could go bouncing around the Caribbean with the likes of Sinatra and Sammy, you can relive those days in Puerto Plata. You can spend indulgent days on the greens of golf courses such as the Dorada Golf Club on Playa Dorado or the Grande Golf Course on Playa Grande (which offers marvelous ocean views from almost every hole).

Once the sun goes down, you can retire to a hotel bar to sip sherry and plan out the evening's activities. Of course, you’ll need an impressive cigar to chomp on to complete the picture - and that’s where you’re in luck. The Dominican Republic produces some of the world’s finest cigars, and almost every hotel can arrange a cigar-factory tour for you.

You’ll be able to sample some classy smokes and purchase cigars for supremely reasonable prices.

Where to Stay

Hotel Celuisma Playa Dorada

The celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada All Inclusive resort is located on the beach of Playa Dorada, surrounded by tropical gardens, and is approximately nine miles from Puerto Plata International Airport. Local attractions include downtown Puerto Plata, approximately three miles away, and golfing.

Hotel amenities include tennis courts, group tennis lessons, ping pong, game room, shuffleboard, fitness center, bicycles, water sports, scuba lessons, boat rides, water aerobics, outdoor swimming pool, volleyball, sauna, massages, whirlpools, basketball court, activities program, children's playground, weekly manager's cocktail party, kids' club, free admission to Top's Disco Club, night entertainment, unlimited miniature golfing, private tennis lessons, tours, shopping arcade, currency exchange, beauty salon, taxi services, moped and scooter rentals, 24-hour doctor on-call, babysitting services, laundry services, business center, spa, sauna, multilingual staff, several restaurants, and two bars. Guest rooms feature air conditioning, cable TVs, safe deposit boxes (for a fee), and telephones.

Note: fees or time limits apply to some of the above services.


Tour Schedule


21st - 25th FEBRUARY 2020

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23RD - 27TH FEBRUARY 2020

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Montego Bay, Jamaica for Shouter Baptist Weekend

28th March - 1st April 2020

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10TH - 14TH APRIL 2020

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20TH - 25TH MAY 2020

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